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Lanka’s exports near USD 1 bn again

Daily News logo Daily News 14/09/2020 Daily News (via HT Media Ltd.)
a close up of a map: Monthly Export Performance 2019, January-August 2020 © Provided by Daily News (via HT Media Ltd.) Monthly Export Performance 2019, January-August 2020 a man wearing a suit and glasses © Provided by Daily News (via HT Media Ltd.)

Sri Lanka’s exports during August 2020 recorded a downfall of 19.2% to US$ 947.7 million as compared to the value of US$ 1,033.3 million recorded the same month of last year.

Despite the decline in exports, some products like Coconut based products, Electricals & Electronic Components, Spices and Essential Oils and Food & Beverages recorded a positive growth of 22.88%, 8.32%, 19.4% and 11.45% respectively, during August 2020 as compared to August 2019.

EDB Chairman
Prabhash Subasinghe

Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman Prabhash Subasinghe said, that it is remarkable to see another month of almost a billion dollars of exports. However, we are being watchful of the months ahead whilst understanding the impact of COVID-19 on our key markets of the US and Europe.

“We also need to focus on export product and market diversification which is seriously lacking today. Whilst appreciating that the US and the EU are the largest markets, we need to now create a significant export market in Asia including China. The China FTA will certainly help in this regard.” Export earnings from Apparel & Textiles declined by 11.99 % to US$ 438.34 million during August 2020 compared with US$ 498.03 million recorded in August 2019. In parallel, 6.15% decline recorded in August 2020 in comparison to July 2020.

In addition, Export earnings from Rubber & Rubber finished products have decreased by 2.71 % y-o-y to US$ 72.53 million in August 2020. However, exports of Industrial & Surgical Gloves of Rubber have increased by 36.19 % y-o-y to US$ 23.07 million in August 2020.

Export earnings from tea in August 2020 which made up 12% of merchandise exports declined by 13.27% y-o-y to US$ 102.97 million and the export volume was also declined by 16.01% in August.

Earnings from all the major categories of Coconut based products increased in August 2020 compared with August 2019.

Earnings from Liquid Coconut Milk and Coconut Oil categorized under the Coconut Kernel Products increased by 89.15% and 114.38% respectively. Being the largest contributor to Coconut based sector, Coco Peat, Fiber Pith & Moulded products which categorized under the Coconut fibre products increased by 20.71% to US$ 13.52 million in August 2020.

Export earnings from Spices and Essential Oils have increased significantly by 19.4% to US$ 39.88 million in August 2020 compared with the value of US$ 33.4 million recorded in August 2019 with a significant increase in export of cinnamon (53.55%). Meanwhile, earnings from export of Electrical and Electronic Components (EEC) increased by 8.25% to US$ 32.93 million in August 2020 in comparison to August 2019.

Total export earnings for January to August 2020 was US$ 6,400.21 million compared to US$ 7,921.16 Mn recorded in a similar period of the previous year – a decline of 19.2 %.

Major Exports such as Apparel & Textiles (US$ 2,842.04 million), Tea (US$ 805.57 million) and Coconut & Coconut Based Products (US$ 421.70 million) and Rubber & Rubber based products (US$ 506.75 million) recorded a decrease of 23.69%, 11.96%, 0.43% and 16.91% respectively during January - August 2020.

The export sectors that show a positive growth at disaggregate level includes the export of Industrial & Surgical Gloves of Rubber, Coconut Oil, Coconut cream, Liquid Coconut Milk, Coconut Flour, Coconut Vinegar, Coconut Shell Charcoal, Mattress Fiber, Areca nuts, Ginger, Essential oils, Made-up textile articles, Processed Food, Mitts & Mittens(Plastic Products).

Earnings from export of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) related products increased by 38.32% to US$ 541.94 million in January to August 2020 compared with the value of US$ 391.79 million. The strong performance was mainly due to the increased exports of other made-up articles (HS 630790) and Articles of apparel and clothing accessories of plastics (HS 392620).

The top five export destinations during the period Jan-August 2020 were United States of America (US$ 1,652.17 million), United Kingdom (US$ 552.46 million) India (US$ 396.96 million), Germany (US$ 371.05 million) and Italy (US$ 280.51 million) absorbed over 50% of exports recorded in the period.

Being the largest single export destination, United States of America has absorbed US$ 248.63 million worth of exports in August 2020 recording a decline of 11.2 % in comparison to US$ 280 million absorbed in August 2019. Also, exports to the United States of America decreased by 20.69 % in January-August 2020 in comparison to January-August 2019.

Exports to the United Kingdom as the largest trading partner in the EU Region recorded an increase of 8.69 % to US$ 90.76 million in August 2020 compared with August 2019.

Further, exports to Italy, Canada, China, Japan and Turkey have also shown better performance during August 2020. Exports to China grew significantly by 34.47% in August 2020 led by earnings from export of Apparel, Tea in Bulk and Activated Carbon.

The services exports estimated by EDB which includes ICT/BPM, Construction, Financial Services and Transport & Logistics show exports of US $ 2,224.02 million compared to US$ 2,584.67 million recorded in the corresponding period of the previous year. However, estimated service exports declined by 13.95 % during January.

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